News And Press

Summer Research

This season we have a number of research projects being carried out within the District. Besides our own work with fishermen to gather data on lobster, crab and crawfish stock health, we are working in collaboration with the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth on three ongoing research projects:

The FISH INTEL acoustic tracking project will be coming to a close in June 2023. The data collected by the acoustic receivers have allowed us to capture crawfish behaviours and movement not previously possible, which will help develop future monitoring plans for crawfish within the District. They have also uncovered interesting migrations such as a number of tuna spending the winter months of 2021 in the Isles of Scilly, and migrating sea trout passing by the islands. A complete report of this research will be available in the Autumn.

The Doctoral Training Partnership PhD with the University of Exeter is continuing into its second year. The presence of a high number of predators in data from last years field work suggests that the marine ecosystem surrounding the Isles of Scilly is healthy. Initial analysis has also shown a unique community of species on Seven Stones reef, not seen elsewhere in the District. 

This summer marks the start of the zero plastic, zero carbon fishing project with Jof Hicks on St. Agnes. This research will be led by the University of Plymouth over 2 years to improve understanding of the ecological impact and the fisheries effectiveness of gear that comprises withy pots and components made from natural materials.  

Our work collecting fisheries data onboard vessels in the fleet this season includes length, sex and abundance data, alongside tag/mark/recapture information to understand movement and growth. This data will help us understand the health of our commercial stocks, European lobster, brown crab and European spiny lobster (crawfish) and feed into fisheries management plan developments. 

Research volunteers needed for summer 2023

A new project in partnership with the University of Plymouth and a fisherman (Jof Hicks) on the island of St Agnes has just launched. .

The project aim is to test the use, value and applicability of potting for shellfish using natural materials. Jof fishes with withy (willow) pots from a tiny vessel that he rows. He builds his pots himself and is very keen to develop best practise in this area and learn more about the ecology, sustainability and economy of this method.

As part of this work we are looking for volunteers to help over the summer with the ecological aspects of the project - assessing how withy pots interact with the enviroment and how effective they are as a fishing method.

You would be living and working on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly. Whilst this is not a paid position, travel to and from the islands, accommodation and a daily allowance for food will be provided. You will need to be able to spend between three and six weeks on the island. You may also choose to travel back and forth each week, but we would expect you to be present for at least 75% of the time. All training and equipment is provided. 

Daily tasks: You will be responsible for the day to day logistics of getting cameras charged and ready for a day's filming, meeting Jof before he goes to sea and then again on his return to retrieve the cameras and his catch data for the day. You will also be responsible for writing up catch data and analysing video footage from the GoPro cameras.

Skills required: You will need to be happy to live and work in a remote location with limited home comforts (we are trying to secure a small cottage but accommodation on Scilly is incredibly hard to find so you may need to camp for at least some of the time). We are looking for someone who is organised, reliable and hard working. Analysis of footage from video cameras is fairly time consuming but we have methods developed from previous projects and will provide training and support for all aspects of the work.

This would be a fantastic opportunity to gain some hands-on experience of working in the field and working with stakeholders, academics and managers. The islands are beautiful and would be a great place to spend a summer. The local community is very friendly, and there will also be seasonal workers at the campsite and pub to socialise with. If you are keen to get some amazing field experience and love spending time outdoors and in/on/under the sea then this is for you!

Please respond to if you are interested by sending a CV and a brief e-mail including these questions before the 31st May: 

  1. Why are you interested in the project?
  2. Why do you think you would be well suited to the work?
  3. What do you hope to gain from this experience?
  4. When you would be available?

Hobby fishing permits required for 2023

All local and visiting hobby (recreational) fishermen will be required to have a permit in 2023.

Permits and tags will be issued from March 2023 and will be a requirement from this point onwards.

A copy of the byelaw can be seen here and an application form can be downloaded here. A tag is required for each pot and costs £3 each. The tag should be secured on the rope just below the marker buoy. Please see pictures on the right that illustrate correct placement.  If there are several pots on a single marker buoy then the requisite number of tags should be attached. Payments can be taken at the library at Porthcressa, the gym at Carn Gwaval by cash or credit card or over the phone on 01720 424400.

For reasons of safe navigation it is important that pots are shot out of main navigation routes and use appropriate length and type of rope.  

For further information please contact Ricky Pender through the website or the IFCA office.

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